How Do Identity Thieves Get My Personal Information
Identity thieves operate in a variety of ways and may use some of the following tactics to get your information:
Stealing your ID cards, credit cards, and bank cards
Stealing your mail, including account statements, pre-approved credit card offers, and tax information
Buying your personal information from sources such as employees at stores, restaurants, or hotels
Getting your information off the Internet
Get A Social Security Statement
The Social Security Administration maintains an online service that lets you find out what you have paid into Social Security, how many hours of work your employers have reported each quarter, and what your expected benefits would be if you were to retire or go on disability in the near future.
You may think that would be wonderful since the worker reporting hours to your Social Security account is moving you closer to vesting your Social Security benefit, but in fact, you can have your expected Social Security payments greatly reduced if someone is reporting low-wage labor to your account. So you want to clear up any double-dipping of your Social Security account.
Requesting your statement is straightforward. You will need to create a my Social Security account if you dont already have one. You can access the sign-in/account creation page here. Once logged in, you can request a Social Security statement to print out from your account. If you prefer a low-tech approach, you can fill out a request form and mail it in, and get a statement mailed to you in 4 to 6 weeks.
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Apply For A New Social Security Number
In order to be considered for a new SSN, you will need to:
Prove fraudulent activity has occurred
Show a police report
Prove that the theft has caused you serious hardship, e.g. trouble with the law or IRS, or inability to get a mortgage loan
Even if you manage to get a new SSN, it may not help. Your old one will still exist and will still be linked to you, so youll need to monitor your credit anyway. Plus, youll have to start over with a new SSN that has no positive credit history.
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Having The Right Attitude
But above all of these, to recover from a successful cyberattack, it’s best to get mentally ready ahead of time.
I know that at your workplace, school, or through conversations with your kids or parents, you may have learned that stupid people cause cybersecurity incidents, and being not-stupid can prevent them. The conventional wisdom suggests it’s stupid to have an easy-to-guess password, to re-use passwords or to be fooled by a phishing email or to take a scammer’s call.
Stop thinking this way. Phishing emails that seek to convince you to give up account numbers, scam calls that are meant to trick you into providing your social security number — they are better than ever, and criminals are refining their tricks all the time.
The average person has hundreds of passwords — it’s inevitable that some of them are “bad” or subject to being mechanically uncovered by a simple algorithm. It’s inevitable that some may be reused.
Sure, it’s a great idea to use fresh and unique passwords, especially for financial accounts. But it’s impossible to imagine that everyone will do so perfectly every single time.
It is also important to pass on this attitude to your friends and family: The people closest to you can lose valuable time and money because they are too embarrassed to tell anyone they made a mistake.
Your Social Security Card Got Stolen
Put a Fraud Alert on your Credit Report
First, you want to put a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting all three major credit bureaus. When you do this, lenders and creditors use very strict guidelines when they screen any application with your information on it. These alerts last for a year, but you can get an extension when that year has passed.
Freeze Your Credit
If you want to get even more secure, think about freezing your credit. When doing so, you cannot use your credit for things like refinancing or opening a new credit line until you lift the freeze, which is good, because neither can a criminal.
Consider ID Theft Protection
If you can afford a couple of hundred dollars a year, you should consider ID theft protection. This ensures that your credit is monitored 24/7 by a team of experts who can also help to restore your credit if someone steals it.
Watch Your Credit Report
Even if you freeze your credit or get a fraud alert, that doesnt mean that you are all in the clear. Thieves can definitely steal your identity in alternative ways. So, it is very important that you watch your credit closely. You can get a free report online at AnnualCreditReport.com or with some identity theft protection plans you can get access to credit reports once a month.
Be Smart When Online
Finally, there are some tips and tricks out there that cybercriminals use that people fall for all of the time:
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The Rise Of Social Security Number Theft
Heists like his dont show any sign of ending. U.S. consumers lost $1.7 billion to identity theft in 2018, nearly double the cash victims lost in 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Social Security numbers were in 1936 to track peoples earnings toward Social Security benefits. Now, these nine-digit numbers have become key data used to fill out a range of everyday forms, whether at the doctors office, bank, school, and more. As a result, Social Security numbers open up a range of fraud and identity theft opportunities.
You Need To Take To Protect Your Identity If Your Social Security Card Is Lost Missing Or Stolen:
- If you dont know what your SSN is, you need to contact the Social Security Office with either your passport or a copy of your birth certificate.
- Report the identity theft to the FTC
- Contact the IRS to report the theft and ensure that someone does not submit tax returns in your name. You might be required to prove your identity using your birth record to do this.
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How Do I Replace My Lost Or Stolen Social Security Card
In normal times, the best ways to apply for a replacement card are to visit the Social Security Administrations website, go to a local SSA office or apply over the phone. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all local Social Security offices were closed to the public for in-person service starting March 17, 2020. The SSA no longer allows you to order a replacement card online or over the phone.
Currently, the only way to apply for a replacement card is to fill out an application and mail it to your local SSA Field Office, along with one proof of your identity, such as your drivers license, U.S. Passport, U.S. birth certificate, U.S. Military ID, or your last Physicians report showing your date of birth.
Once you receive your replacement card, dont put it in your purse or wallet. Keep it stored securely in a safety deposit box, or at home.
Can I Replace My Social Security Card The Same Day
Unfortunately, you cannot replace your Social Security card the same day. You can, however, visit your local Social Security office and obtain a receipt serving as proof that you have submitted your application for a new card. This receipt can be used as evidence of a temporary card in some situations. It will take anywhere from 10-14 to process your application for a new card, but the quickest way to get the replacement is through your Social Security account online.
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What To Do If Someone Is Using Your Ssn
To resolve your credit problems, you need to contact the institution that authorized the credit and/or issued the credit card, as well as the major credit reporting agencies. Obtain a copy of your credit report and ask that an alert be placed on your credit record requiring that you be contacted before credit is extended using your name and SSN.
To Apply For A New Social Security Card You Should Make An Appointment With The Local Social Security Office On The Day Of The Appointment Be Sure To Bring:
- Certified birth certificate
- Proof of address i.e. utility bills etc.
- Government issued photo ID
- Proof of hardship i.e. identity theft reports, police reports, etc.
The Social Security Office will always have the final say on whether or not you will get a new Social Security Number. However, getting a new social security card wont necessarily make your identity theft problems to disappear. Your old Social Security Number will still be out there, probably in the hands of criminals, and it will still be connected to you.
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Tip : Leave Home Without It
There may be times when you need to show your card to someone. But, in general, its a good idea to avoid carrying your card or any documents that display your SSN. Its possible you might lose your wallet or leave your documents behind.
Not all thieves will want your Social Security number, but many will. Leaving your card at home decreases the chances that these scammers will gain access to your Social Security number.
You Got A Sextortion Email
Don’t believe it. There are few things in this life that I will claim to know for certain, but this is one: Nobody has secretly recorded you watching pornography over your webcam. I mean it. They haven’t. And they’re not contacting your spouse about it.
If you get an email asserting that somebody has done this — even if it has your email address and password in the subject line — it’s a scam. Criminals get your passwords and other private information from darkweb fire sales of personal information. This information can’t really be used for much, other than to convince you that they somehow know who you are.
If you already paid money to the person on the other end of one of these emails, contact your bank to attempt to reverse the transaction.
You can report this to the FBI or local police as well, and while it is helpful for their ability to track these types of crimes, there is little they can do to get your money back. Just be aware that billions of these emails are hitting inboxes daily and there’s no need to panic.
The Importance Of Protecting Your Sin
Your SIN is confidential. You should not use it as identification or provide it for job applications, rental applications, etc. See Protecting your social insurance number for information on:
- when to use your SIN
- how to protect your SIN, and
- what you should do if you suspect someone is using your SIN
Closely Review Your Credit Reports And Accounts
If you ever notice unusual activity, report it immediately to the applicable creditor as well as to one of the three major credit bureaus. You must provide strong evidence to the Social Security Administration of fraud on your account to secure a new Social Security Number. An identity theft protection service can help you monitor and protect your accounts to help with this process.
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How Can A Thief Steal My Identity
A thief can get your personal information in person or online. Here are some ways thieves might steal someones identity. A thief might:
- steal your mail or garbage to get your account numbers or your Social Security number
- trick you into sending personal information in an email
- steal your account numbers from a business or medical office
- steal your wallet or purse to get your personal information
Whether And How To Get A New Social Security Number
Many stolen Social Security numbers are used simply to gain employment, with no detrimental effect to the legitimate holders of the SSN. But others are used to defraud banks, retailers, the IRS and other government agencies, which could trash your credit.
If several years pass after the theft of your Social Security number, and the problems arising from the theft have not gotten any better, then you may want to apply for a new SSN. But before you take that step, there are several things to consider.
Visit Identitytheftgov To Get A Recovery Plan
You can visit IdentityTheft.gov to report identity theft and, more importantly, set up a recovery plan, or you can call 877-438-4338 to do so. Both will guide you through a process that includes:
Dont Send Your Ssn Via An Electronic Device
Never type your SSN into an email or instant message and send it. The majority of such messages can be intercepted and read. Also, dont leave a voicemail that includes your SSN. If you need to contact someone and give them your number, its best to do it in person. The second best way is to reach them on the phone and do it live.
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How Do You Put An Alert On Your Social Security Number
If you want to place a fraud alert on your Social Security number, you simply need to contact one of the three credit reporting agencies. Tell them you want to place a fraud alert on your SSN, and they will notify the other two agencies. Make sure the credit bureau has your latest contact information on file because they will need to contact you if anyone attempts to use your SSN. This service is free of charge, and the alert lasts for one year. You should be aware that your Social Security number cannot be suspended. If you receive a call stating such, you should hang up immediately because it is a scam.
How To Replace A Stolen/missing/lost Social Security Card
Depending on the circumstances, you can choose to order a replacement social security card or request a new one. It is usually a fast and hassle-free process to order a replacement card, while requesting a new card is a much more tedious and longer process.
If you are at least 18 years old, are a United States citizen, and have a state issued drivers license, you can use the official Social Security website to apply for a replacement. You can use the My Social Security account. If you havent already set one up, you will require your SSN to do so.
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Recognize Scam Calls Or Emails
If someone calls and says theyre from the Social Security Administration or some other official agency, and asks for your Social Security number, hang up. Its likely a Social Security scam call. Staff people from the administration in particular would never ask for you to provide itâthey have it already. Government impostor scam calls, including the Social Security sort, are among the most prevalent of the 535,417 impostor scam reports to the Federal Trade Commission in 2018.
Use a people lookup tool to help avoid scammers who may be posing as service providers or even CEOs .
What Can A Thief Do With My Social Security Number
There are numerous things that a thief can do with your SSN, and none of them are good. One of the most common things that happen when someone is using your Social Security number is opening credit accounts in your name. They might get credit cards, bank accounts, or loans in your name and use them to purchase items. A thief might even use your SSN to file a fraudulent tax return with the Internal Revenue Service. Taking this action could allow them to receive a large tax refund, and then you might be on the hook later for the fraudulent return.
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Place A Fraud Alert On Your Credit
The first step you need to take if your Social Security Card is lost or stolen is to place a fraud alert on your credit. This is free to do and can be repeated annually. This requests that anyone accessing your credit file contact you first, which can allow you to stay on top of potential fraud attempts. Be aware that while it’s a common courtesy to follow these fraud alerts, people are not legally obliged to.
You Wired Money To A Scammer
In a typical wire fraud scam, a criminal breaks into the email of someone who you know, usually professionally — an attorney, realtor or business associate. He or she squats on the email until he or she knows how you interact with this person, and then strikes, sending you a message — usually an urgent one — convincing you to wire money to an unfamiliar bank account, in order to facilitate a legal matter, home transaction or vendor payment.
Usually, the bank account is offshore. Because the transaction involves email fraud, your bank won’t reimburse you. It’s a more involved type of cybercrime and for a good reason — because criminals get money wired directly to their accounts, and often very large sums.
Drop everything and call your bank. If you have fallen victim to this type of crime, drop everything you’re doing and contact your bank’s wire department to attempt to halt the wire. If you are successful, this can save you enormous headaches later. If you know the real identity of the receiving bank, you can attempt to contact its wire department as well, although the fraudster’s bank is usually overseas and may be more difficult to reach.
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